Friday Jan 04, 201309:59 PM GMT
Obama expected to pick Hagel as opponents prepare for a fight
Fri Jan 4, 2013 9:58PM
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President Barack Obama is expected to name Chuck Hagel as his choice for defense secretary as early as Monday, as critics of the former Nebraska senator prepare to go to war to fight his expected nomination.


White House officials and sources close to Hagel declined to confirm to The Cable that Hagel is the president's choice to be the replace Leon Panetta at the helm of the Pentagon, but several sources close to the process said have told The Cable that the White House and Hagel have been in touch on a regular basis and that Hagel is indeed the expected pick. Decisions about the timing and logistics of the announcement are being finalized now.


The Cable had previously confirmed that Hagel successfully complete the vetting process, as have Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy.


Meanwhile, Hagel's detractors are moving forward with their campaign against the nomination, which has been expanding ever since The Cable first reported in November that Hagel was in consideration for the Pentagon post. Foreign Policy


Hagel had come under intense criticism from pro-Israel interest groups for past comments. Drawing particular fire was a quote from his 2008 book, wherein he said, "I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator." He added, "I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that." Huffington Post


Hagel currently chairs the Atlantic Council think tank, which this month published a column titled “Israel’s Apartheid Policy,” and has made controversial comments about Israel—such as “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people,” which he was quoted as saying in 2008. He has also come under fire for his remarks about homosexuals.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Dec. 30 there would be "very little Republican support" for his nomination. Huffington Post


Obama defended Hagel in a “Meet the Press” interview last week, saying there was nothing that disqualified Hagel from being selected. The Hill


Obama faced the potential loss of a second national security selection if he did not pick Hagel, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice took herself out of consideration to be the next secretary of state amid an avalanche of criticism from Republicans over the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The Hill


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